EY Faculty Connection - Issue 38

CFO and beyond

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In our newly released report entitled CFO and beyond, we share feedback from 800 CFOs worldwide, as well as a study of the career paths of group CFOs at 347 of the world’s largest companies over the past decade. The results reveal unprecedented demand for their unique skill set outside of the finance role, making them arguably the individual with the most career options in the corporate hierarchy.

The implications of this fascinating report are clear: the CFO position does not have to be a destination in itself; rather, it can be an onward path to other executive, non-executive or non-corporate roles. Read on to learn more and download the report.

CFO and beyond: the possibilities and pathways outside finance

In our earlier study, The DNA of the CFO, we showed that most finance leaders see their job as a career destination and not a staging post to the job of CEO. It is a paradox, then, that unprecedented demand for their unique skill set outside of the finance role — both as a complement to their serving position and as an onward transition — makes them arguably the individual with the most career options in the corporate hierarchy.

Key takeaway
The role of CFO doesn’t have to be a final career destination. The skills of CFOs are in demand outside of the finance role.

In CFO and beyond, we share survey participant feedback covering:

  • Why shareholders want serving CFOs on their boards
  • The pros, the cons and how to be a successful non-executive director
  • The future of board composition and how candidates for board roles can prepare
  • Onward roles – what it takes to make the transition:
    • To CEO
    • From listed to private equity
    • To non-executive directorships post-CFO
  • The career paths of the world’s leading CFOs

The appetite of shareholders for CFOs to serve on boards is big – and getting bigger. In 2002, just over a third of top-tier CFOs had non-executive roles. Ten years on, nearly half have them.

The implications, and the possibilities, for students considering a career in financial services or public accounting are clear: the CFO position does not have to be a destination in itself; rather, it can be an onward path to other executive, non-executive or non-corporate roles.

The CFO and beyond study is based on three main elements:

  • A survey of 800 CFOs worldwide
  • A study of the career paths of group CFOs at 347 of the world’s largest companies over the past decade
  • A series of in-depth interviews with leading CFOs, governance experts and academics

More C-suite insights in the next article: The DNA of the COO




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